How to Expand Your Customer Email List in an Hour a Week

Maintaining a list of customer email addresses can help you boost your business’s marketing efforts. But getting one started can seem like a daunting — and time-consuming — endeavor. It doesn’t have to be, especially if you break the job up into smaller blocks of time.

Here’s a list of 10 tasks that you can accomplish in an hour. Resolve to do one (or more) per week and watch your email list grow.

1. Ask your personal contacts to opt in. Every journey starts with a single step, so quit procrastinating. Send an email blast to the people on your personal contacts list to get the ball rolling.

2. Offer incentives to subscribe. Offer a free item or an enticing discount to customers who give you their email addresses. Everybody likes something for (almost) nothing.

3. Reward referrals. Your current email recipients have friends, family, and colleagues, right? Bribe them to persuade their contacts to join your list (see #2).

4. Write blog posts. Provide interesting information or insight about your products, services, or business. You should probably do this on a regular basis in order for people to keep reading it. Offer an option for readers to subscribe to your blog via email.

5. Motivate employees with a contest. Offer cash, a paid half-day off, or free merchandise to the employee who adds the greatest number of valid email addresses to your list.

6. Make subscriptions easy. Solicit subscribers at the checkout counter, whether you put out a sign-up sheet or a fishbowl for business cards. This is a simple way to ask customers, face-to-face, for their email addresses.

7. Partner with other businesses. Perhaps you can collaborate with other stores in your shopping center (or related businesses in your area)? Just be sure to inform customers that their names and email addresses are going to multiple lists.

8. Use social media. Ask questions, take surveys, or offer incentives on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media pages — and ask your fans and followers to join your email list.

9. Create a QR code – Many online programs do this for free. Print out this code, put it on products and displays in your store, and link it to a sign-up form for your email list.

10. Measure your progress. You won’t know if your email efforts are paying off unless you can determine whether the people on your list are actually spending money at your business. Keep what’s working and jettison what isn’t.

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